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IS YOUR WORKPLACE UP TO SCRATCH?

All employers need to provide a workplace which is suitable for employees to perform their duties.

The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (the "Act") looks to ensure all employees work in conditions that are not only safe for them to work in, but which promote the employment relationship and the effective functioning of employees.

As an employer, there are some minimum requirements you must be aware of:

•    You must provide employees with facilities such as:

-    Drinking water
-    Toilets
-    Hand washing areas
-    First aid
-    Ventilation of fresh or purified air
-    A means for controlling temperature
-    Areas for employees to take rest breaks and eat meals.

•    You must take all practicable steps to ensure that staff facilities are maintained in a good order and working condition.

•    You must provide employees with a clean working environment.

Communication is important:

As part of an employer's obligation to maintain a good faith relationship with employees, it is important that employers be available and actively seek feedback from employees to identify issues with working conditions and solutions for minimizing or eliminating these issues.

Health and safety is not just a management responsibility. It sits squarely on the shoulders of directors as well, something that was affirmed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry established in relation to the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy.

Good Governance Practices Guidelines for Managing Health and Safety Risks have just been released as part of a joint initiative of the Institute of Directors and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. These guidelines provide directors with comprehensive advice on their roles and responsibilities, and a handy checklist to ensure all the bases are covered.

For more information, see our website or download a copy of the Good Governance Practice Guidelines from:

http://www.osh.govt.nz/order/catalogue/pdf/good-governance-practices-guideline-for-managing-health-and-safety.pdf

Keep on top of your health and safety obligations. Your business will be better for it.

Kylie van Heerden and Rebecca Catley

Written by Kylie van Heerden, Rebecca Catley at 09:00

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